NH Politics

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

In this Race For The 1st conversation, we talk with Mindi Messmer, a Democrat running in the closely watched race for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

Scroll down for NHPR News takeaways from this interview

Messmer, a first-term legislator from Rye, runs an environmental consulting firm.  As a legislator, she serves on the Health, Human Services, and Elderly Affairs Committee, and on the Commission to Study Environmentally-Triggered Chronic Illness and the Commission on the Seacoast Cancer Cluster Investigations. 

Our Race For The First conversations will focus on the issues at the forefront in the CD1 race, including opioids, guns, veterans, and how each candidate plans to stand out in a crowded race. 

Nearly three months after President Donald Trump disbanded his controversial voter fraud commission, the public can get a peek at the voter data New Hampshire was prepared to turn over.

Brett Levin; Flickr

As a state commission on the issue meets again, we look at the debate in New Hampshire. We also talk to reporters from Maine and Massachusetts about how marijuana legalization is playing out in their states. 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Last year Governor Chris Sununu created the 25-member Millennial Advisory Council to explore ways to attract and retain a younger workforce in New Hampshire.

 

Concerns about affordable housing, conservation of public lands and transportation were included in the council’s report issued last year.

 

Britta Greene for NHPR

Local officials from all corners of the state lined up Thursday for a hearing on a bill about who should have the power to delay town elections, for snowstorms or otherwise.

The Exchange wants to help listeners get to know the candidates running in the crowded race for New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District.

"Race for the 1st" is a series of 20-minute interviews with the 11 declared candidates, kicking off Monday, April 2 and running through the spring. The interviews will take place live on Mondays at 9:40 a.m. They will be broadcast on air, as well as on Facebook Live.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

New Hampshire lawmakers in the House held a hearing today for a bill that would restrict access to adult education programs in the state. Senate Bill 525 narrowly cleared the Senate.

 

A crowd of dozens showed up in opposition to the bill and a larger hearing room was needed to accommodate them.

 

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

Aside from overseeing state records and  administering elections, the office of Secretary of State has taken on a highly political dimension in recent years -- in New Hampshire  and elsewhere -- in part because voting-law debates have become so divisive. We'll look into what the job involves and why it has become so political.  

N.H. State Rep Indicted on 2 Counts of Welfare Fraud

Mar 28, 2018
NHPR File Photo

 

A New Hampshire state lawmaker has been indicted on two counts of welfare fraud.

A Hillsborough County grand jury recently indicted Rep. John Manning, R-Salem. The 65-year-old Manning is accused of getting more than $13,000 in cash and food stamp benefits that he wasn't eligible for from 2013-2015.

The indictments say Manning said his niece was a member of his household, when she wasn't, and that he didn't disclose that his son worked for his restaurant, the Rockingham Cafe.

NHPR File

There’s been a lot of talk in the past year about the need to pass stricter voting laws and clean up New Hampshire’s elections. But there’s been a lot less talk about any specific cases of voter fraud. NHPR’s Casey McDermott wanted to find out more about what the issue actually looks like.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Members of the New Hampshire legislature’s Seacoast Cancer Cluster Commission said they didn’t want to debate facts about Coakley Landfill and its effect on public health at their meeting Monday – but that’s mostly what they ended up doing.

State and federal regulators told legislators repeatedly they can’t prove or disprove whether Coakley Landfill Superfund Site is causing cancer on the Seacoast.

File Photo / NHPR

  

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen applauded actions taken by the Trump administration to expel Russian diplomats and close Russia's consulate in Seattle, stemming from an alleged poison attack on an ex-spy in Britain.

 

Shaheen, D-NH, said Monday this sends a clear message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that the United States will continue to stand with the United Kingdom, "and will deliver retribution for the Kremlin's hybrid attacks" on Western nations.

    

DANK DEPOT VIA FLICKR CC / HTTPS://FLIC.KR/P/9C93J6

 

The New Hampshire Senate has passed a bill that would allow two more medical marijuana dispensaries to open in the state.

 

Lawmakers legalized medical use of marijuana for the treatment of a limited number of conditions in 2013. It can be purchased at licensed alternative treatment centers in Lebanon, Dover, Merrimack and Plymouth.

 

Sean Hurley

March for Our Lives rallies took place around the country - and across the state this past Saturday in Portsmouth, Peterborough and Nashua, among other places. 

In Concord, an estimated 4,000 people convened at the State House following a march from Concord High School. NHPR’s Sean Hurley was there. 

Lauren Chooljian / NHPR

  New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu beamed as he looked out upon a room packed with 60 round tables, each one full of supporters.

“A little daunting once you finally get up here. I’m absolutely humbled, absolutely humbled at the turnout,” he said to the crowd.   

It may have been Sununu’s party at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Thursday night, but it was Vice President Mike Pence who got top billing.

NHPR Staff

Dissatisfied with both the incumbent and his well-financed challenger, another Democrat is putting himself forward as an alternative to longtime Secretary of State Bill Gardner.

Former Manchester Representative and Alderman Peter Sullivan says he respects Gardner’s 42 years years of service in the position but believes it’s time to put someone more forward-thinking in the role.

Flickr/ Anne and Tim (Creative Commons)

The third time seems to be the charm on efforts to get a paid family and medical leave bill through the New Hampshire House. 

But the most recent passage came only after heated debate over a last-minute amendment from the House Finance Committee that would have made drastic changes to the version of the program that passed the House twice before.

Allegra Boverman, NHPR

The New Hampshire Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would give a tax exemption to businesses that focus on generating human organs. The measure comes after Manchester was chosen by the U.S. Department of Defense for an $80-million grant focused on manufacturing tissues and organs.

The project, which is called the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, or ARMI, is led by inventor Dean Kamen.

  Congresswoman Annie Kuster today applauded continued federal money for the Northern Border Regional Commission in the government funding bill. The funds supply infrastructure and economic grants to struggling communities in the Northeast.

 

Chris Jensen for NHPR

The New Hampshire House voted to allow people to carry loaded guns on ATVs, snowmobiles and other off-highway recreational vehicles. A bill lifting existing restrictions passed 181-148 on Thursday but will still need Senate approval before taking effect.

Vox Efx / Flickr Creative Commons

The ACLU of New Hampshire is asking a federal judge to declare a state law unconstitutional. The state's signature-matching law allows absentee ballots to be rejected if officials believe the signatures on the ballot and envelope don't match.

The ACLU says the law permits hundreds of ballots to be thrown out, even though they are valid.

NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with Gilles Bissonnette, the legal director of ACLU New Hampshire.


Allegra Boverman for NHPR

A bill that would create a position for a state demographer passed the N.H. House today.

 

House Bill 1817 would require the person who gets the job to work closely with U.S. Census data and compile projections on things like how diverse the state is and how it's aging.

 

Representative Erin Hennessey is the bill’s prime sponsor. She says it also calls for a commission made up of legislators and Granite Staters with demographic expertise.

 

woodleywonderworks via Flickr CC / https://flic.kr/p/5p1N5a

All thirteen of New Hampshire’s cities now offer full-day kindergarten. On Monday night, Concord became the final city to join the list.

The Concord school board has been debating full-day kindergarten for years. The election of new board members, along with new funding from the state, finally tipped the scales.

Board member Chuck Crush says he’s excited for what a full-day program will mean for kids and for economic development in the city.

Robert Garrova for NHPR

Governor Chris Sununu’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion will hold its first public listening session Wednesday, March 21, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Granite Room on UNH’s Durham Campus.

 

Diversity Council Chair and Seacoast NAACP President Rogers Johnson says snow or not, the council will proceed with the forum. Johnson says Durham was an obvious first location for the session because of several racially charged incidents that took place in the area and on the UNH campus last year.

 

Robert Garrova for NHPR

A bill that would limit state-funded adult education programs to legal residents cleared the Senate last week.

 

Republican Senator Andy Sanborn is the primary sponsor of SB 525. He contends it will focus taxpayer funding on those who can work legally in the state.

 

Sanborn pointed out during a Senate session last week that the bill is not meant to target those on a path to citizenship.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

President Trump's speech at Manchester Community College today about the national opioid epidemic included plenty of New Hampshire references.

Trump took time to thank Governor Chris Sununu and Manchester Fire Chief Daniel Goonan for attending.

The speech ranged widely on topics including sanctuary cities, DACA and the border wall with Mexico, but the President did not make any specific announcement of new funding measures to fight the opioid epidemic.

Trump did make it clear that he wants to see tougher penalties for those convicted of drug trafficking.

WashingtonNH.org

Plenty of local officials grumbled about the state’s orders not to reschedule town elections because of last week’s snowstorm. But only one — the town of Washington — defied those instructions and decided to delay its votes anyway.

Allegra Boverman for NHPR

President Trump will visit Manchester Monday, where's he's expected to announce a new plan to battle the nationwide opioid crisis.

Manchester Fire Department Chief Daniel Goonan knows first-hand how big his city’s opioid problem is.

NHPR File Photo

A bill supporting a study for commuter rail expansion has passed the New Hampshire House.

The House bill on Thursday includes the federally funded study as part of the 10-year state transportation plan.

The project would extend passenger rail from Boston to Manchester, N.H., with two stops in Nashua, a stop at the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, and a stop in downtown Manchester.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state House has again rejected a bid to give New Hampshire towns more control over their own environmental protections – but advocates of the constitutional amendment say they're making progress.

Organizer Michelle Sanborn with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund says the House barely debated the proposal the first time around, in 2016.

So she's encouraged by Thursday’s House vote of 217 to 112 against it.

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